Los Angeles Kings: 4 Players That Need to Step Up Their Game

Gary LlewellinCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2011

Los Angeles Kings: 4 Players That Need to Step Up Their Game

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    The Christmas break has come and gone in the NHL, and the Los Angeles Kings currently find themselves outside a playoff position.

    You can attribute their poor play to poor coaching, but that is only part of the story.

    Many of the Kings have had poor starts to the season. Let’s take a look at four Kings that need to step up their play.

Dustin Brown

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    While he has picked up his play somewhat over the past few games, Dustin Brown has had a rough season. He has amassed only eight goals and 11 assists on the year and has looked completely out of place at times during the games.

    A forward that usually posts around 30 goals per year, Brown does not seem to know what to do when he reaches the offensive zone anymore.

    He also seems to go down pretty easily these days. The Captain and leader of the team should not be the one diving on the ice to draw penalties—not that anyone should, mind you.

Dustin Penner

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    After a lousy finish to the season last year, Dustin Penner has picked up right where he left off.

    With Anaheim and Edmonton, Penner was a big body that could be counted on to score on a regular basis, having scored 29 goals in 2006-2007 and 32 goals in 2009-2010. Penner has not been able to find his scoring touch with the Kings, having only recorded two goals in 24 games for the Kings this year.

    Needless to say, with a $4.25 million cap hit, this is not the kind of production LA management expects from Penner.

Drew Doughty

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    Whether it is the new contract, the fact he missed training camp or something else entirely, something is wrong with Drew Doughty’s game. In 30 games, he has two goals and 13 points.

    He is on pace for a 33-point season—a far cry from the 59 points he put up in 2009-2010.

    If he can simplify his game and get back to making the smart plays we are used to seeing, then maybe he can still salvage the rest of the season.

    If he can turn his season around and return to being one of the top offensive defenseman in the game, the Kings will have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot this year.

Justin Williams

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    The Kings are last in the league in goals scored for a reason. They cannot seem to score many goals.

    Justin Williams is another one of their players that has not been able to get the job done offensively. With only five goals on the year, Williams is not having a season to remember. He is on pace for just 11 on the campaign.

    A key piece in LA’s top six forward group, they could use his help if they want to get back on track.